In Part I Stuck on pretend play, I received a letter from Melody that I continue with the answer here.
” “My 3 year son doesn’t really dress up or play role playing games. I really noticed it when his friend Claire came around to play last week. He loves to push his little car up and down for hours though or his train. He doesn’t interact or anything! Claire wanted to dress up and play but my son wasn’t really interested. Do you have any tips or activities for encouraging more role playing?
This is the second part of the [tag]pretend play[/tag] series.
Starters– Ways in to encourage [tag]role[/tag] playing games with your son
Although these suggestions were written with Melody’s son in mind they work equally well with girls as with everything it totally depends upon your child.
- Taxi/bus – arrange 2 rows of 2 chairs. Hail a taxi and ask the driver to take you to wherever you want.
- Doctor – 1 of you (or other kids) pretends to be ill and the doctor gives medicine and tucks them into bed. Doctor brings patient soup, hot water bottle etc.
- Multi-storey car park – They have a multi-storey garage and they park it with loads of cars. Then one person drives their car towards the car park and the other decides if it’s full or not
- Police chase – One person drives the “Bad man’s car” and the other person drives the police car.
- Disaster – They get a pile of cars and put them upside down. Then they get an ambulance to save the people in the cars and a digger to help flip the cars over.
- Shopping – They get a “shopping bag” and some “money” and go to the shops. Tell them 3 things each that they have to remember then they go away for a few minutes and come back with their shopping. They tell you what they bought and if they forget something asked them to get it. They go back to the shops!
- Road mats- are great investments. You can make your own really easily.
– Road works (they build Lego barriers so have to work out another way to reach the station etc.)
– Follow the leader
– One will be a pedestrian and the other will be the driver and the driver stops for pedestrians so they can cross the road
For car lovers
- “Police” where a police car chases a naughty car then arrests the driver or “ambulance” where a car crashes and an ambulance saves the people in the car. They also play “car crash” which is just 2 cars chasing each other and crashing.
For train lovers
- Trains: with cushions and aeroplane which involves packing suitcases ie emptying every drawer and toy box , check in and then the flight
- Try expanding on the train stuff but having some people driving to the station in their cars – needing to get gas, car wash on the way etc.. to incorporate garage. Use level crossings to have people out walking as crossing roads. The train passengers can wait in the cafe and have a snack. Some of the passengers can be at the supermarket. Then they can all go home ……..
Other suggested situations:
- doctor or hospital? pretend you’re not well and let them lead you to the bed, tucks you in, touches your head and give you medicine. then cooks some soup, toast and tea for you.
- What about restaurant? (You take his order and serve him or vice versa)
- Taxi? (Set 2 rows of 2 seats and he drives you where you want to go then you pay him)
- Lego/Duplo? My 2 use Lego to build toys like car parks.
- fishing sitting on beds with yo-yos
- cooking/tea/baking thing this takes longer if you can brave playdough making carrots peas etc etc and i set the real kitchen timer for about 3mins to cook stuff
- a picnic. Collect all the teddy bears/a sheet/ plastic or paper plates
- hide and seek games /looking for treasure
- when we did trains they had real money and i write on bits of paper for tickets for the ‘little people’ in the train
- TV programmes like CBeebies, show some great examples of role playing and pretend play ideas children can imitate to kick start their [tag]creativity.[/tag]
- Try “joining” all the toys together. E.g The alphabet street jigsaw is the town, children from the doll’s house go shopping there in cars from the garage and often stop off at the supermarket, hairdressers, library etc..
- Try using [tag]stories[/tag] from books for him to act out so he starts to see [tag]role playing[/tag] – in time he will start to build his own. Our bears and a doll are Goldilocks characters etc..
- ‘go to the moon’ – we put boxes on our heads, then you have to jump up and down three times, count to ten, stand on one leg, spin around 5 times and then you are on the moon and we have to walk like we are marching and talk in moon voices – seems to have really sparked the imagination.
- sheet or a blanket over a couple of chairs and I send him camping – give him a little picnic
More [tag]dressing up[/tag] box ideas
- Small suitcase or briefcase
- Apron and wooden spoon
- Gloves, purses, necklaces
- Scarves, bandannas
Not an exhaustive list but I hope some of these ideas will get you thinking about the [tag]play-activities[/tag] your children enjoy.
How is their pretend play? Do they participate in pretend play or avoid it? Do you need to help kick start them ? What pretend play ideas do your children love ? Share them here.
The Not Quite Crunchy Parent says
These are great ideas. one thing of which parents should be aware though is that pretend play, like many other developmental stages comes at different times for different kids. Age 4 is about average – some kids get into it earlier and some later. As long as parent provide the props and model pretend play, most kids will get into it.
In our house we have lots of costumes…cheap to buy right after Halloween…we also have silks, yards of fabric that I just buy at the fabric store and leave in a basket, playcords or ribbons for belts, felt and pipe cleaners to make quick masks, etc.
Some kids like to “role play” and some kids like to put on little plays using play figures…my DS likes both. He also will line up his cars and put them in different places…if I ask, he will tell me an elaborate story about what is going on in the story he has set up…that too is pretend play!
Notquitecrunchyparent: Kids do start their pretend playing at different ages. You raise a valid point. It wasn’t until I started to model with my son that he really got into pretend play. It never occurred to me before that I should model but we have the best fun with it.
Good tips about costume buying- this is the right time of year for that!
I can see that our dressing up box will be getting bigger this time next month.
Thanks for your comment.
Robert at Kintropy says
Thanks for the pretend-play ideas: some of them are quite good & ones I wouldn’t have thought of. I think the challenge with our kids is actually making us parents available and ready to engage in pretend play. My son, in particular, loves pretend play, but I find myself needing to make the conscious effort to give him my full attention, encourage him to put away the distractions (video games, etc.). Once we get to that point, he could pretend play for hours!
Robert: Thanks Robert for stopping by. I hope you can try a few new ideas with your little guy soon. I enjoyed stopping by your blog.